Minor League Postseason Preview

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by Kyle Brostowitz

On Wednesday, three of the Washington Nationals’ minor league affiliates will kick off the 2014 postseason. Here’s a brief preview of each series:

farm graphicInternational League

Syracuse Chiefs (81-62), Northern Division Champion


Pawtucket Red Sox (79-65), Wild Card

Season Series: 8-8

Series Scoring: 66-56 (Syracuse)

Looking Lively

Game Three starter, RHP Mitch Lively, stymied the Red Sox late in the season, going 2-0 with a 3.27 ERA (4 ER/11.0 IP) with 17 strikeouts and just four walks in his final two starts of 2014. In his final outing, on Aug. 30, Lively struck out a career-high 11 batters to propel the Chiefs to the division-clinching 6-2 victory over the Red Sox.

Familiar Face

Former Nationals outfielder Corey Brown will face off against his former teammates in this best-of-five series.  Brown went 10-for-33 (.303) with two doubles, four homers, six RBI, three walks and 5 runs scored in nine games against Syracuse in 2014. Brown played 357 games for the Chiefs from 2011-2013.

Pitching Matchups

Game 1: Wednesday, Sept. 3 at Pawtucket, 7:05pm: RHP Taylor Hill vs. LHP Edwin Escobar

Game 2: Thursday, Sept. 4 at Pawtucket, 7:05pm:  RHP Scott McGregor vs. RHP Matt Barnes

Game 3: Friday, Sept. 5 at Syracuse, 7:00pm: RHP Mitch Lively vs. LHP Henry Owens

Game 4: Saturday, Sept. 6 at Syracuse, 7:00pm: LHP Aaron Laffey vs. TBD **If necessary**

Game 5: Sunday, Sept. 7 at Syracuse, 1:00pm: RHP Paolo Espino vs. TBD **If necessary**

Carolina League

Potomac Nationals (78-58), Northern Division Champion


Lynchburg Hillcats (68-71), Wild Card

Season Series: 12-7 (Potomac)

Series Scoring: 96-90 (Potomac)

Hot Stretch

Potomac enters the postseason having won 14 of its last 19 games to finish out the season. Moreover, the Nationals have won four straight against Lynchburg, including a three-game sweep of the Hillcats, Aug. 19-20.

Batting Champion!

P-Nats second baseman Tony Renda claimed the Carolina League batting title, hitting .307 with 21 doubles, four triples, 47 RBI, 19 stolen bases and 75 runs scored.  In 13 games against Lynchburg, Renda went 16-for-49 (.327) with a double, two RBI, three stole bases, four walks and 12 runs scored.

Pitching Matchups

Game 1: Wednesday, Sept. 3 at Potomac: LHP Hector Silvestre vs. TBD

Game 2: Thursday, Sept. 4 at Potomac: RHP Brian Rauh vs. TBD

Game 3: Friday, Sept. 5 at Potomac: RHP Ian Dickson vs.  TBD

South Atlantic League

Hagerstown Suns (87-53), Second Half Northern Division Champion


Greensboro Grasshoppers (87-53), First Half Northern Division Champion

Season Series: 6-5 (Hagerstown)

Series Scoring: 69-66 (Hagerstown)

Hot Hand

RHP Reynaldo Lopez enters the postseason having allowed just one earned run in his last 39.2 South Atlantic League innings pitched, going 4-1 with a 0.23 ERA, with opponents batting just .115 against him. In his lone start against Greensboro on Aug. 19, Lopez fired 6.0 scoreless innings, allowing two hits while walking one and striking out four.

Grasshopper Exterminator

South Atlantic League MVP, INF Wilmer Difo, hit .460 (23-for-50) with a double, three triples, two homers, 10 RBI, two walks, three stolen bases and 13 runs scored in 11 games against Greensboro in 2014.

Pitching Matchups

Game 1:  Wednesday, Sept. 3 at Hagerstown: RHP Wander Suero vs. Domingo German

Game 2:  Friday, Sept. 5 at Greensboro: RHP Reynaldo Lopez vs. LHP Chris Sadberry

Game 3   Saturday, Sept. 6 at Greensboro:  RHP Nick Pivetta vs. RHP Kyle Fischer

1 Comment

Do not blame Jason Werth for a dropped hard fly ball to the out field. He is not the reason for the blown save in the last L.A. Dodgers game. His fielding record has been nothing if not exemplary. The problem is again Soriano who has consistently walked batters in the 9th inning. His job as a closer is to prevent walks in critical 9th inning situations. To not let those kinds of situations happen at all. He has been doing these kind of errors for the past month whether or not he has lucked through those save situations or not. We already have a pitcher who does not walk batters in the ninth inning and dominates hitters the way a true closer should. His name is Tyler Clippard. It is time to demote Soriano out of the closer’s role as he should have been a long time ago. If the Nationals are wise they will demote Soriano before playoff games of real consequence begin.

Harold G. Pavel

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